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Dec 15, 2013 07:11 AM

Best way to prepare pork tenderloin for soup

I defrosted a chicken breast to add to a simple vegetable soup. Or at least I thought I did, but it's a pork tenderloin. I usually just poach and shred the chicken, what's the best way to cook the tenderloin so it's not overcooked? Roast as usual and slice or would it be better to slice and then saute?

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  1. I would braise that baby in a small amount of broth 'til it's falling-apart tender, and then shred it in. If you add some hominy, and a dash of lime, cumin and chile powder, you can call it posole. :)

    22 Replies
    1. re: mamachef

      if it's tenderloin, it's very lean, so not a suitable meat for long-cooking.

      agree with coliver: keep it whole. grill if you can. otherwise, pan-sear or oven roast and add it to the soup at the very last minute.

      1. re: hotoynoodle

        Gotta disagree. Low enough and slow enough, it'll do just what a nice, lean chicken breast does if you poach or braise it and shred w/ the grain. I'd be concerned about adding the cooked meat to the soup only because I think it would become overly chewy in the cooking. Possibly making it ahead and refrigerating or freezing and then re-heating would alleviate that problem.

        1. re: mamachef

          you're not cooking the meat any further. simply adding it, already hot, to the finished soup. just like bits of roast pork in wonton soup.

          "braising" lean meat is not in my wheel-house, sorry. :)

          1. re: hotoynoodle

            I gotta agree with hoytoynoodle re: braising lean meat.

            If me, I;d either outdoor grill the tenderloin or brown on the stovetop and finish in the oven to 140F.

            Rest, cool, slice thin or into bitsize portions and add to warm soup to only reheat.

            I have used both pork tenderloin chunks as well as lean boneless pork chops in my "Sunday Gravy"/spaghetti sauce which cooks for hours on low . Sure they are shredable at the end, kinda, but due to the nature of the leanness and cut, they often come out dry and shred into very small pieces vs, say, smoking a pork butt to 200F and then pulling.

            It's the nature of the cut.

            As others mention, I'd cook to 140F and cut a'la a Chinese wonton soup and it will be fine and delicious.

            Good luck.

            1. re: jjjrfoodie

              I also agree with you on not shredding. Actually shredding meat is something I almost never do. I find eating 'pieces' easier than 'shreds.'

              1. re: jjjrfoodie

                The texture of pork tenderloin is so different than chicken breast to me that I never pondered shredding. As you mentioned, it seems like it wouldn't work well.

              2. re: hotoynoodle

                Nor mine. And even if it were as good, why go to the extra time and effort when in 15 minutes you're good to go?

              3. re: mamachef

                Braising ruins chicken breasts. It just dries them out.

                The same will happen to a pricy pork tenderloin.

                1. re: C. Hamster

                  Also not my experience, if it's done on the bone and done correctly. What I love about CH is there are a million different tastes and opinions, in which case everybody is right.

                  1. re: mamachef

                    Care to elaborate on what your way is?

                    1. re: c oliver

                      Sure. For instance smothered chicken: rolled in seasoned flour, sauteed w/ aromatics, and oven-braised low, slow and covered, in a small amount of liquid of choice. If you want exact proportions and times, I'll be glad to provide them, but I know I've provided braised chicken recipes before, and you've read them because I specifically remember you asking about a braised chicken w/ artichoke hearts, pancetta and peas done in much the same way. The methods really don't change, just the ingredients.

                      1. re: mamachef

                        i think we're using different definitions for "braising".

                        typically it's a fatty/tough cut of meat that is browned on all sides and then almost completely submerged in liquid, then cooked for many hours to break down the connective tissues, which then become collagen. further cooking turns the collagen to gelatin. a protein in a covered dish with a bit of liquid in the bottom is almost steam-cooked -- not braised.

                        1. re: hotoynoodle

                          I'm thinking she may be referring to "stewing."

                          1. re: c oliver

                            even stew has a fair amount of liquid AND typically uses cheap fatty cuts.

                              1. re: C. Hamster

                                I still struggle with the whole concept of stewing/braising chicken. I can't think of a time I've done it. And OP is just looking for some way to add pork tenderloin to soup. So I'd still think the chicken is going to get dried out.

                                1. re: C. Hamster

                                  Using the exact piece of meat, Beef Chuc/Roast

                                  you stew beef braise the larger piece of meat known as a pot roast

                                  Same would go for a picnic shoulder, as opposed to chunks

                                  You make a braise meat.

                                  It's all semantics in the end to fit your argument..

                            1. re: mamachef

                              Sorry but cooking chicken breasts "low and slow" just drains them of their juices and dries them out. And if you go too long it just disintegrates them

                              It's simple physics.

                            1. re: magiesmom

                              I think they were discussing chicken? That was my thought at first too

                      2. re: hotoynoodle

                        With a lean meat like pork tenderloin it is either fast cook it or cook it at a low temperature for a long time. If you search for pork and vegetable soup recipes, there are several that say to cube the pork, brown it with aromatics, add broth and other ingredients and cook in a slow cooker for several hours.

                        For soups, I like that "long everything cooked together" kind of flavor, rather than adding some grilled meat at the end. Need to give the ingredients time to harmonize.

                    2. Do you have a grill? We usually do them that way, about four minutes a "side" or 15ish minutes total.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: c oliver

                        I usually roast and it's great and super simple so I guess I'll stick to that and just dice it after and add it last few minutes to warm in the soup.

                      2. Simply, I would cut it into about 1 1/2 inch pieces across the grain and shed it raw, along the grain, into julienne shaped pieces and cook them right along with the vegetables in the soup pot. It will enhance the flavor of the soup too.Do this at the last minute because they'll cook very fast.

                          1. braising lean meats like pork tenderloin is a sin :O... I NEVER cook pork tenderloin past medium well. 140F it should be away from the heat and resting!